China targets trust industry next year in fight against shadow banking: sources

FILE PHOTO: Office buildings are seen at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s banking regulator will further tighten the screws on the trust industry next year, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, as Beijing steps up a campaign to clampdown on the country’s shadow banking sector.

Trusts have been a key part of China’s shadow banking sector, which helps channel deposits into risky investments via products often designed to dodge capital or investment regulations.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) recently told trust firms in Beijing that next year the regulator will take forceful measures to stem the rapid growth of the trust industry, the sources told Reuters.

Trust companies that are reckless and irresponsible will receive maximum punishment if any violations are found, the sources said.

The CBRC did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The banking regulator last week banned lenders from using trust firms to skirt regulations and cover up risks.

Outstanding trust assets were at 24.41 trillion yuan ($3.75 trillion) at the end of September, up 34.33 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the China Trustee Association.

Reporting by Li Zheng and Shanghai Newsroom; Writing by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam